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Albanian: Gjakova / Gjakovë
Serbian: Ђаковица / Đakovica
City and municipality
Old town, reflecting Gjakova's Ottoman heritage.
Old town, reflecting Gjakova's Ottoman heritage.
Gjakova is located in Kosovo
Location in Kosovo
Coordinates: 42°23′N 20°26′E / 42.383°N 20.433°E / 42.383; 20.433Coordinates: 42°23′N 20°26′E / 42.383°N 20.433°E / 42.383; 20.433
Country Kosovo
District District of Gjakova
 • Mayor Mimoza Lila Kusari
 • City and municipality 586.91 km2 (226.61 sq mi)
 • Urban 13.189 km2 (5.092 sq mi)
Elevation 375 m (1,230 ft)
Population (2011)
 • City and municipality 95,576
 • Density 160/km2 (420/sq mi)
 • Urban 40,827
 • Urban density 3,100/km2 (8,000/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 50000
Area code(s) +381 390
Car plates 07
Website Municipality of Gjakova

Gjakova (Albanian: Gjakovë) or Đakovica (Serbian Cyrillic: Ђаковица) is a city and municipality in western Kosovo. It is also the administrative centre of the homonymous district. The municipality's population in 2011 stood at 94,556.[1]


The Albanian name for the town is Gjakova, while the Serbian name is Đakovica with the common -ica diminutive placename suffix. There are several theories on the origin of the village name, such as from the personal name Jakov; the Serbian word đak (pupil); or from the Albanian word for "blood" (gjak).[2]

The "Jakov theory" derives its name from Jakov, a little known nobility in the service of lord Vuk Branković who founded and ruled the town, and whose coins have been found, signed "Jakov".[3][4] According to local Albanians, the name was derived from the name Jak (Jakov), with the village name meaning "Jakov's field".[5] According to Vujinović, it was also wrongfully claimed by the Albanians that the name was derived from a Jak Vula, a local landlord who allegedly gave property where the Hadum Mosque was built in the 1590s.[4] In Albanian, the name was pronounced Jakova, and not Đakova or Đakovica (1928).[5] The "pupil theory" has it that the Serbian kings had schools there,[2] the word đak is from earlier d(i)jak;[6][page needed][7][page needed] The blood theory is supported by British historian Noel Malcolm.[8][page needed]


Ottoman period[edit]

In the Ottoman defter (tax registry) of 1485, the "village of Đakovica" had 67 households, among which there was the house of "Vukašin's son, the priest".[3] Based on the study of the names, only two household heads were of possible Albanian origin.[4] In the 17th century, Katip Çelebi and Evliya Çelebi mention this place as Jakovičse, with 2000 houses and 300 shops.[3]

The town had developed into an Ottoman trade center on the ShkodraIstanbul route, with the marketplace being by the Hadum Mosque, built in 1594 by Mimar Sinan, financed by Hadum Aga. Evliya Çelebi mentioned it as a town in 1662, and described it as a flourishing and attractive town with 2,000 houses built of stone with roofs and gardens. The public buildings were situated on a broad plain and included two richly-adorned congregational mosques, several prayer-houses, some inns with leaden roofs, a delightful bath-house (hamam), and about 300 shops like nightingale-nests.[9][page needed]

Balkan Wars[edit]

Gjakova suffered greatly from the Serbian and Montenegrin armies during the First Balkan War. The New York Times reported in 1912, citing Austro-Hungarian sources, that people on the gallows hung on both sides of the road, and that the way to Gjakova became a "gallows alley."[10] In the region of Gjakova, the Montenegrin military police formed the Royal Gendarmerie Corps (Kraljevski žandarmerijski kor), known as krilaši, which committed much abuse and violence against the non-Orthodox Christian population.[11]

Kosovo War[edit]

View of the clock tower in the city
Main article: Kosovo war

The town was badly affected by the Kosovo war, suffering great physical destruction and large-scale human losses and human rights abuses. Yugoslav units were stationed in and near the town in two barracks due to the risk of an attack by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) from across the border in Albania. In one incident, NATO aircraft misidentified a convoy of Albanian refugees and attacked it.

Actions on the ground had a devastating effect on the town. According to the ICTY, OSCE, and international human rights organisations, about 75% of the population was expelled by Serbian police and paramilitaries as well as Yugoslav forces, while many civilians were killed in the process.[12][13] Large areas of the town were destroyed, chiefly through arson and looting but also in the course of localised fighting between government security forces and members of the KLA. The actions of the government forces in Gjakova formed a major part of the United Nations war crimes indictment of the then-President Slobodan Milošević. [1] In 2011, several dozen corpses were identified and returned to their families, though the number is relatively small compared to the figures of those who are still missing.[14]

Aftermath of Kosovo war[edit]

Most of the Albanian population returned following the end of the war. In 2001 free elections were held, with a majority won by LDK. Thousands of new stores were rebuilt. Qarshia e Madhe is a good example where hundreds of stores were destroyed during the war; in 2001 as many were rebuilt as they had been before the war. New television and radio media were launched such as Radio Gjakova, Radio Pandora, Radio Amadeus, and TV Syri. Local businesses set up manufacturing enterprises such as the IMN brick factory was one of these.


The municipality covers an area of 521 km2, including the town of Gjakova and 84 villages. Gjakova is situated at the Southern end of The Dinaric Alps and is approx. 100 km (62 mi) inland from the Adriatic Sea.

Panoramic view of Gjakova in winter.


Roma children studying together with Kosovar children, Primary School Emin Duraku, Gjakove.

According to the 2011 census, the resident population was 94,556, of which urban inhabitants numbered 40,827 and rural 53,729; there were 47,226 males and 47,330 females. The ethnic groups include Albanians (87,672), Balkan Egyptians (5,117), Roma (738), Ashkali (613), and smaller numbers of Bosnians (73), Serbs (17), Turks (16), Gorani (13) and others.[1] Based on those that answered, the religious make-up was 77,299 Muslims, 16,296 Roman Catholics, 22 Orthodox Christians, 142 others, and 129 irreligious.[1]

According to OSCE estimations, before the Kosovo War of 1999 the municipality had a population of about 145,000, of which 93% were Kosovo Albanians and 7% non-majority communities, including some 3,000 Serbs, who mostly lived in the main town.[15]


Gjakova built an economy based on farming and agriculture, lower trade and some types of manufacturing workshops which mainly produce for the needs of city-based products as imported cases. After World War II, Gjakova has built an economy based on industry and agriculture but also in the service sector. Nowadays, these subsequent shifts in transitional societies are escorted with shifts in the economic structure of the city. Therefore, Gjakova has an economic structure that is based on two pillars: in the private business sector and social business sector which is currently being privatized. Private business sector is in expansion and the main indicators qualify it as the main component of Gjakova’s economy.[16]

According to official sources identified in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, by the end of 2005 there were about 3,200 registered businesses that exercise activity in different areas of Gjakova, such as enterprise manufacturing, construction, service, trade, catering, craft, transportation, information technology, etc. Social economy in 1989 has counted 45 companies that have employed 18,640 workers. In non-economic activities (education, health, culture, government institutions, banks, etc.) there were employed 4000 workers. Furthermore, they also developed the private economy – where in 2010 approximately 920 employees were registered in the business entities. The economy of the municipality of Gjakova suffered mostly during the economic sanctions and the mass violence done by Serbian forces during the war. The situation further during NATO’s intervention as a result of the destructive actions of multiple military and police forces, which have stood and operated in the economic enterprise facilities. This meant that during their withdrawal, these Serbian forces robbed, looted and destroyed most of the assets, inventories, transportation machines, etc. The losses that were done in the social economy as a result of the war were approximately 190 million DEM, whereas in the private economy around 100 million DEM.[16]

Damages during war[edit]

According to the report “Damages of the War in the Economy of Gjakova”, written by the Provisional Government of Gjakova (Department of Economy, Finance and Inspection jobs), it is explained how on August 1999 on the financial damages reached the amount of DEM 170,252,772.[citation needed] This seems to be specified directly to the sector of social economy.

Textile Industry " Emin Duraku "
No. Social Enterprise Damage in the buildings and equipment ( DEM * )
1. Metal industry - " Metallic " 5,716,600
2. Gorenje " Electric motor " 781,500
3. Production of vessels " EMAL " 8,000
4. Production of Teflon " ENA " 128,220
5. Holding Korporacy " Deva " 1,075,000
6. Rubber Industry " Keys " 45,000
7. Textile Industry " Emin Duraku " 3,905,900
8. Enterprise " JATEX " 3,261,100
9. Enterprise " Model " 292,000
10. Industry bread and flour 2,000,000
11. Food company " BUJETA " 47,700
12. Construction material industry 1,200,000
13. Enterprise " MEAT " 400,000
14. Industrial Agricultural Combine " Ereniku " 113,348,916
15. Agricultural Cooperative " Beci " 27,918,089
16. Agricultural Cooperative " Cermjan " 289,850
17. Agricultural Cooperative " DAMJAN " 572,000
18. Dairy " Golaj " 53,500
19. Agricultural Cooperative " Skivjan " 927,736
20. Hydro " Radoniq " 1,000,000
21. Enterprise " Kosovatrans " 4,066,661
22. Enterprise " DUKAGJINI " 521,000
23. Enterprise "Dawn " 1,461,000
24. Enterprise Hotel " Pashtriku " 550,000
25. Municipal Enterprise " ÇABRATI " 269,000
26. Construction enterprise " November 9 414,000
Total 170,252,772

Post-war economy[edit]

According to official data, in 2006, there were 581 registered small and medium enterprises, in 2008 there were 3,120 such registered businesses, while in 2012 their number had reached 4,120. Gjakova currently has 12,000 people employed, in both the public and private sector, mostly in the latter. Although unemployment is high, there is a gradual increase of employment over the years according to data from the Kosovo Ministry of Work and Social Wellbeing. According to government statistics, in 2010, 40,000 people were registered as unemployed, while in 2011 this number decreased to 30,000 and in 2012 to 15,000. 30,000 people in Gjakova receive social assistance. This category includes poor families, people with disabilities, families of war veterans/victims and the retired.[17]


Potential industry sectors in the municipality of Gjakova are:[16]

  • Metal industry, which produces metal ropes, nails, galvanized pipes, profiles of metal adhesive bandages. The existing industry also the production of electro motors for washing machines, engines for industrial applications, motors for hermetic compressors, finger jointed and Teflon containers, chimneys, elbows, enameled pots, technical gases, and chrome concentrate.
  • Textile industry, which produced cotton spinning, cotton fabrics, artificial leather, underwear, lingerie costume for men, and different types of fabric (specifically jeans), etc.
  • Chemical industry, involves production of the shampoo for domestic and industrial use and other chemical products which are used for household hygiene.
  • Food industry, is mainly known with the production of flour, bread, eggs, pasta, chocolate, high quality wines, and fresh meat.
  • Construction industry, Gjakova is also known for its construction materials industry, which involves the production of bricks, blocks, tiles, doors and windows, briquette, wooden cottages in the global level (log Houses ) and also the production of asphalt, fresh concrete, concrete slabs, and concrete pipes.

Capital investments[edit]

The municipal budget of Gjakova was subsided by donations from USAID, CDF, Austrian Office in Kosovo, the European Commission and others, which over the past four years have done capital investments to the amount of 25 Million euro: 5,4 million € in 2010; 6,3m € in 2011; 6,7m € in 2012; 6,6m € in 2013.[17]

The capital investments in the municipality of Gjakova are mainly focused on the regulation of roads including the rehabilitation, pavement and partially their lighting. However, investments for the expansion of the sewage system and the regulation of the canalization remain insufficient. The total amount of funds that are available to the municipality of Gjakova during a year for capital investments lies somewhere over 6 million euros.[18]

Private sector[edit]

Dominated by small family businesses, retail stores, cafeterias and providers of basic services, the private sector of Gjakova remains weak. It makes up only 5.5 percent of all businesses registered in Kosovo. According to the Tax Administration Office in Gjakova, 88 to 93 percent of active businesses are businesses with a single owner, five to ten percent are businesses with limited liability and the remaining two percent are large businesses. As in any other place in Kosovo, more than 90 percent of the sector consists of small family businesses which cannot create growth with added value. Only 2 out of 53 studied businesses in the centre of Gjakova declared not having employed any relative.

Gjakova’s private sector, as in other places of Kosovo, is dominated by small businesses which hire 1-5 employees in activities with small added value, such as wholesale and retail, or other service activities such as restaurants and hotels. Wholesale and retail represent 50.5 percent of registered businesses. Other sectors include hotels and restaurants (10.2 percent), production (9.7 percent), transport and communication (7.8 percent), construction (4.2 percent) and agriculture (1.7 percent) among others.

Outside of the city’s centre, Gjakova’s private sector is characterized by ex-social ventures. Only one of the 15 privatized social ventures and one of the two ventures with common shares are completely functional. Both ventures have to do with construction. One of them is "Dukagjini" with 109 employees, which is one of the biggest private employers in Gjakova today. The other venture is "NIKI-S" which at present has 279 employees and is considered the biggest company in Gjakova’s municipality.[19]


Main article: Culture of Gjakova

Historical monuments[edit]

Historical monuments in Gjakova are divided into three main categories based on their cultural, religious and social context. The core part of the town was created between the Krena River to the east and Cabrati hill to the west. Around the cornerstone of the town, the Old Bazaar - the center of trade and craftsmanship - was created. By 1900, the bazaar housed around 1000 enterprises. Numerous bridges were built to enable the journey of trade caravans across the neighboring rivers. With the fast development of trade in the city, several inns were built to host the many visitors. Because of its ancient origins and fast economic development, Gjakova has become of great historical importance.[20] [21]

The Old or Grand Bazaar (Çarshia e Madhe) in Gjakova is the oldest bazaar in Kosovo, and it served as an Ottoman trading centre and heart of the town economy. It suffered damage during the Kosovo War but has since been renovated. The Hadum Mosque, built in the 16th century, lies by the bazaar, and includes a highly decorated graveyard, where the town notables were buried. Within the mosque complex were the hamam (Turkish bath) which was destroyed in 2008,[why?] the "Old library" from 1671, damaged in the Kosovo War, and also a meytepi from 1777. The Bazaar is linked to the city centre, just five minutes away via the Islam-Beg Bridge. The bazaar covers an area of about 35,000 m2 (380,000 sq ft) and the length of its main road is 1 km, with about 500 shops situated along it. It is, however, still home to an active mosque, several türbes, and a clocktower.[22]

  • Hadum Mosque, located in the Old Bazaar, built in 1594 by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan and financed by Hadum Aga. The mosque has played a significant role in the urban character of the town from the 17th to 20th centuries. Its construction was followed by the appearance of the craftsmanship around it, which increased the importance of the town. The mosque holds historical value and is viewed of as a sacred monument.
  • Sheikh Emin's Tekke, built in 1730 by architect Sheikh Emin. It belongs to the Sufi order. The complex includes turbe (small mausoleums), samahanes (ritual prayer-halls), houses and fountains. It is characterized with detailed sacral architecture, with wood-carved elements.

Events and festivals[edit]

Events and festivals in Gjakova are not as much in numbers, as they are highly valued. The historic city of Gjakova, Kosovo, especially the Old Çarshia, is the hub of many outdoor and indoor festivals, cultural events and street parades. Many of them are seasonal and take place only one time, while others are organised annually for many years by various festival societies. All of them draw interest from the locals and visitors alike. Some of the events are organised by the city, some by private companies as well.


Annual competition of jumping from the Fshejt Bridge

Apart from being a culture and educative center of Kosovo, Gjakova is also known as a sports center. The best example of this is the fact of having 38 clubs, which compete in all leagues over Kosovo. Gjakova's most successful team is KF Vëllaznimi which has won 9 titles of Kosovar Superliga, and 4 Kosovo Cups. "Shani Nushi" is the city's sports hall, which has a capacity of 3500 seats, while Gjakova's City Stadium has a capacity of 6000 (2000 seats).

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Gjakova is twinned with:

Notable people[edit]

Current President of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga was born in Gjakova in 1975.




  1. ^ a b c "Të dhënat demografike sipas komunave" (PDF). Statistics Agency of Kosovo. April 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Никола Чупић (1898). Годишњица Николе Чупића. Штампа Државне штампарије Краљевине Југославије. p. 151. 
  3. ^ a b c Зборник Матице српске за ликовне уметности. Матица. 1990. ... господару овог места Јакову, вазалу Вука Бранковића Сачувано је и неколико примерака новца са натписом „Јаков", који је овај властелин ковао. У турском попису из 1485. уписано је ово место као „село Ђаковица" са 67 домова међу којима је и дом „попа сина Вукашина". Хаџи Калфа и Евлија Челебија у XVII веку помињу ово место као „Јаковичсе" са 2000 кућа и 300 дућана .. 
  4. ^ a b c Janko Vujinović (1989). Kosovo je grdno sudilište. NIRO "Književne novine". pp. 96–97. Ђаковица је име добила по Јакову, мало познатом феу- далцу, вазалу Вука Бранковића. Јаков је, наиме, оснивач и господар Ђаковице, бар тако, уз име „Иаков", пише на њего- вом новцу [...] Под именом „Јакова", „Јаковичса", „Јаково са околи- ном" и „Ђаковица" помиње се од раног средњег века Звоно, [...] Јак Вул>е, те по имену зем- љовласника место добија име Јаково, Ђаково, и до краја XIX века - Ђаковица Па сад, [...] У тур- ским, веома поузданим пореским тефтерима из 1485. годи- не, место по којем сам корачао у то пролетње поподне упи- сано је као „село Ђаковица" са 67 домаћинстава, од којих су само два домаћинства [...] 
  5. ^ a b Zapisi. Cetinjsko istorijsko društvo. 1928. Арбанаси мештани пак кажу да је име Ђаковица дошло од имена Јак (Јаков) и ова шт0 значи поље, те би Јакова значило Ја- ковљево поље. У арбанашком језику Ђаковица се и зове Јакова, а •не Ђакова и Ђаковица. 
  6. ^ Book: Alexandru Madgearu, The Wars of the Balkan Peninsula: Their Medieval Origins
  7. ^ Mirjana Detelić: Градови у хришћанској и муслиманској епици, Belgrade, 2004 ISBN 86-7179-039-8
  8. ^ Malcolm, Noel; Kosovo-A Short History, Harper Perennial, 1999, ISBN 978-0-06-097775-7
  9. ^ Elsie, Robert (2004). Historical dictionary of Kosova. 4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706: Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 0-8108-5309-4. 
  10. ^ "Servian army left a trail of blood". New York Times. December 31, 1912. 
  11. ^ "Krilaši", Istorijski leksikon Crne Gore, Podgorica: Daily Press, 2006 
  12. ^ UNDER ORDERS: War Crimes in Kosovo – 6. Djakovica Municipality
  13. ^ OSCE
  14. ^ Documents Library – OSCE
  15. ^ OSCE Mission in Kosovo: Municipal profile of Đakovica PDF, November 2005. Retrieved on 13 November 2007.
  16. ^ a b c https://kk.rks-gov.net/gjakove/City-guide/GjakovaTriZonaKomun.aspx
  17. ^ a b http://www.zeri.info/artikulli/6897/mbijetesa-e-qytetit-te-harruar.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ http://www.institutigap.org/documents/28632_LeternjoftimiGjakove.pdf
  19. ^ http://www.iksweb.org/repository/docs/udhes_per_ne_BE_46482.pdf
  20. ^ "Integrated Conservation". Cultural Heritage without Borders. 
  21. ^ http://www.balkansgeotourism.travel/content/ura-e-terzive-terzi-or-tailors-bridge-gjakov%C3%AB-%C4%90akovica-kosovo/see12A386E69D6EAD1C3
  22. ^ Broshura për promovimin e Gjakovës,CBDC
  23. ^ http://kk.rks-gov.net/gjakove/News/Binjakezohen-Gjakova-dhe-Lodeve-e-Frances.aspx

External links[edit]

  • Gjakova travel guide from Wikivoyage